Friday, November 30, 2007

Brining Meats For Flavor

Brining is the process of soaking meat in salt water for flavor enhancement or preserving. We most often think of ham or bacon when we think of products created by brining. When I was young I can remember my grandmother brining meats. I thought it was to preserve them but have come to realize that the flavors are just as important or maybe more important. Many people and even restaurants are now brining much of their meat before cooking. The meats have much more flavor and are more difficult to dry out. This past Thanksgiving I brined our Turkey and some pork loins. The flavor was fantastic and the process was simple. You can brine all sorts of meats but my favorites are poultry, pork and fish. Here is a simple brine recipe that is easy to make and use.

Mix the following in a gallon of warm water:
One cup of Kosher Salt
One Cup of Brown Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon of Allspice
A pinch of cloves

This is basic brine and you can add or take away spices to add the flavors you wish. The key ingredients are salt and sugar. You may wish to only brine a chicken breast for an hour or fish fillets for a few hours. You can dilute the mixture for less salt in the meat. I have left a pork loin in the brine in the refrigerator for a week and the end product when smoked was similar to Canadian bacon just better. I recently brined venison tenderloin for two days, rinsed in cold water and rolled in cracked black pepper. I then smoked it with mesquite wood. It was some of the finest eating I know of on God’s earth.
Enjoy, Wild Ed

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